Archive for April, 2008

Phase One – Capture One 4

Workflow, workflow, workflow. Millions of words have been written about it and there are, no doubt, many millions to come. Here are a few more.

I’ve never really been happy with my pre-DAM workflow. It’s been a little too clunky and disjointed for my liking and that is probably as a result of failings within the RAW products I have used and my understanding of how best to use them. I’ve tried a few different products and always stumbled at one hurdle or another. Capture NX does a great job of Nikon NEF files but is distractingly clunky and slow. I quite fancied Adobe Bridge’s metadata functionality which I used for initial annotation but that’s pretty much where my love for it ends. I’ve tried many others and have never really been satisfied.

I hear some good things about Lightroom but am yet to try it but what I have tried recently is Phase One’s offering, Capture One 4. The interface is unlike the normal Windows style of application but it’s hard to express succinctly why. Things just don’t seem to be where I would naturally expect them to be which, I guess, is not a great start. Keyboard shortcuts and shift key functionality seem to be the way things are with the product and that, coupled with some unreliability issues (ImgCoreProcess.exe errors anyone?) put me off somewhat but I persevered and I’m glad that I did.

Once I gained a little experience on the way the product should be used I’ve had a great deal of success taking my images from the RAW, through to selection and adjustment, cropping and finally to the satisfying derivative stage. I love the way output recipes are defined and used and the crop tool works just how I want a crop tool to work, allowing me to define my aspect ratio and to crop my images knowing that they can be used for print work without further messing about.

So far so good with the exception of some reliability issues. I hope Phase One get on top of them sooner rather than later.